T-Mobile Raised ‘Unlimited’ Data Cap To 30GB Per Month Before Throttling Occurs

T-Mobile just changed the amount of data its customers are allowed to consume before they face potential throttling, depending on network usage. The limit now sits at 30 gigabytes per billing cycle, whereas previously T-Mobile's network management policy listed the ceiling at 28GB. Obviously that is not a ginormous change, and it still underscores the funny way that wireless carriers have of defining "unlimited."

According to Merriam-Webster, the word unlimited has three definitions:
  1. lacking any controls: unrestricted / unlimited access
  2. boundless, infinite / unlimited possibilities
  3. not bounded by exceptions: undefined / the unlimited and unconditional surrender of the enemy—Sir Winston Churchill
T-Mobile One

One of T-Mobile's main selling points is that subscribers enjoy unlimited data. That is true in the sense that there are never any overage fees nor are they ever cut off from the network. However, once the 30GB threshold is reached, the customer becomes a deprioritized subscriber.

To T-Mobile's credit, it offers the highest amount of data on an unlimited plan before potential throttling begins. As stated in the second paragraph of the Network Management for Extremely High Data Usage and Tethering section of T-Mobile's Internet Services policies:
Based on network statistics for the most recent quarter, customers who use more than 30GB of data during a billing cycle will have their data usage prioritized below other customers’ data usage for the remainder of the billing cycle in times and at locations where there are competing customer demands for network resources. At the start of the next bill cycle, the customer’s usage status is reset, and this data traffic is no longer prioritized below other traffic.
T-Mobile is not alone in throttling data after a certain point on unlimited plans. Sprint caps unfettered data access at 23GB, while Verizon and AT&T both put the limit at 22GB. T-Mobile's cap works out to around a gigabyte per day.

Going over the 30GB threshold doesn't necessarily mean a user will see slowed downloads. It all depends on busy the network is. The most likely time a heavy data user might be affected is during peak hours when the network is more apt to being congested.